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Medical debt burdens majority of Americans

The notion that those in debt for medical expenses are uninsured may not be an uncommon presumption in Washington. On the surface it appears to make sense, as the general purpose of health insurance is to absorb the majority of the costs from doctor and hospital visits. Surprisingly, a recent report revealed that most of those struggling with medical debt actually have health insurance but are still struggling due to the crushing debt.

The typical out-of-pocket deductible was capped at $12,700 for family plans back in 2014, but that cap has increased for 2015 to $13,200. This means that families must first pay thousands of dollars per year before their health care insurance begins to pay. Even for a comparatively small bill of only $400, the report found that about 48 percent of people in America would not be able to pay and would instead have to resort to borrowing the funds or selling personal assets.

While co-pays may have become slightly more affordable for some, the sky-rocketing deductibles have pushed one out of every three people in America into crippling debt. This comes out to roughly 33 percent of the population. When this type of medical debt begins to overwhelm a person so badly that he or she begins to forgo necessary medical treatment, action may be necessary.

It may not seem fair to become burdened by medical debt because your child developed a life-threatening disease or your spouse required emergency medical attention, but that is, unfortunately, the position many are in at this time. Although some Washington families are able to pay off their medical bills, others are not so lucky, and may quickly find themselves overwhelmed by medical bills and credit card debt. In some instances, personal bankruptcy can be an exceptionally appropriate course of action to take in order to discharge debt and return to a financially stable life.

Source: mainstreet.com, "Broken Healthcare: 1 in 3 Americans Are Deep in Medical Debt", Hal Bundrick, Jan. 12, 2015

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